Evaluation of New Okra Cultivars for Bare Ground and Plasticulture Production

in HortTechnology

Several okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) cultivars are now available as alternatives to the standards `Clemson Spineless' (open pollinated) and `Annie Oakley II' (hybrid). Based on the results of four trials involving 20 cultivars, `Mita', `Spike', `Green Best' and `North & South' should be added to the list of recommended cultivars for Alabama and Florida. The experimental `SOK 601' should also be included on that list, but on a for trial basis since it was evaluated only at one location. Other cultivars may perform well at specific locations. Differences among cultivars were also found for ease of harvest. `North & South' and `Baby Bubba' were the easiest and most difficult cultivars to harvest, respectively. The economic feasability of selecting a hybrid cultivar over an open-pollinated one and using plasticulture instead of bare ground was also examined in this study. Using hybrid seeds resulted in an average yield increase per harvest of 92 lb/acre (103 kg·ha-1), which exceeded the estimated 75 lb/acre yield (84 kg·ha-1) increase necessary to offset the additional cost of hybrid seeds. For reasons ranging from improved weed control, increased nutrient and water use efficiency, and double cropping, an increasing interest exists to produce okra with plasticulture, instead of bare ground as done traditionally. The average yield increase per harvest due to plasticulture over bare ground production was 196 lb/acre (220 kg·ha-1). Based on this number, it would take three harvests to produce the 540 lb/acre (605 kg·ha-1) yield increase necessary to offset the additional costs due to plasticulture.

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